• Morton Gould
  • Spirituals for Orchestra (1941)

  • EMI Music Inc (World)
  • 2[+pic].232/4331/timp.2[+]perc.xyl.vib.bells./[pf].hp/str
  • 17 min

Programme Note

Composer note:

I have tried to write music the way one speaks. I tried to make it as direct and simple as possible. Part of the "Jubilee" section, for example, is in boogie-woogie pattern. Of course, many contemporary jazz effects coincide with certain rhythmic patterns in our spirituals. What I tried to do was to synthesize some of these features. My starting premise was that our spirituals develop a wide gamut of emotions, musically. These emotions are specifically American. The songs range from strictly spiritual ones that are escapist in feeling, or light and gay, to those having tremendous depth and tragic impact. My idea was to get five moods, widely contrasted in feeling. Although most of the work is original as far as thematic material goes, I have used fragments of folk tunes here and there. The first movement ("Proclamation") has a dramatic religious intensity. The second movement ("Sermon") is a simple narrative — a sort of lyrical folk tale. The third movement ("A Little Bit of Sin") is humorous and good-natured. The fourth movement ("Protest") is bitter, grim and crying-out. The last movement ("Jubilee") is a festive and dance-like piece.

— Morton Gould

Discography